Pompey: Conor Chaplin has Championship class

Conor Chaplin celebrates his goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin celebrates his goal. Picture: Joe Pepler

CONOR CHAPLIN delivered further evidence of his killer instinct and was told: There’s no telling how far you can go.

Chaplin served up another insight into his poacher’s talent as Pompey fell to a 2-1 Capital One Cup loss to Championship Reading last night.

He has great ability. I’ve played in the Championship and he can play at that level.

Kyle Bennett

The Blues slipped to their first defeat under Paul Cook in front of an impressive crowd of 18,190 at Fratton Park.

They witnessed Chaplin’s eye for a finish as he put his side in front with a fine effort five minutes before the break.

It was a goal which showcased the 18-year-old’s ability which is exciting the Fratton faithful.

After scoring against Derby County in the last round, it was Chaplin’s second goal against Championship opposition.

Pompey attacker Kyle Bennett is in no doubt that is the kind of level the Worthing ace can operate at.

Bennett said: ‘It was a great finish and a clever bit of play for him. He’s capitalised on a mistake from their defence.

‘Only goalscorers sniff out chances like them. Tubbsy (Matt Tubbs) is the same.

‘Not many people have that – but it’s something Conor is good at.

‘It’s great for a home-grown lad to come out in front of 18,000 fans and perform like that.

‘To play like that against a Championship side and get a goal is deserved.

‘He’s patient and waited. He has not had as many minutes as he would have probably liked but he’s proved against two Championship sides he can score goals.

‘He has great ability. I’ve played in the Championship and he can play at that level.

‘There’s no telling how far he can go.’

Chaplin repaid the faith of Cook, who handed him his first start of the season, with his second goal of the campaign.

Until last night, the striker had made three cameo appearances totalling 35 minutes against Dagenham & Redbridge, Derby and Crawley.

Bennett knows he is pushing for further playing time now with the youngster establishing himself as a fans’ favourite.

He feels Chaplin is showing the attitude to improving his game which will see him rewarded.

Bennett said: ‘He’s a great lad who works hard and puts the hours in on the training field.

‘He’ll have a great career in the game just because of his attitude.

‘He’s still young and he’s a great asset to himself and the club.

‘Conor’s work-rate and determination to better himself will take him a long way.

‘It’s his natural ability with his hard work. He practises every day.

‘The assistant and the manager are telling everyone to go in and he’s still striking balls. He’s a credit to himself.

‘The players who have come in like Conor are pushing for a place.

‘The manager has something to think about because we have a lot of games coming up.’